Choosing Your Next Destination as a Digital Nomad

We have the luxury of mobility available to us now more than ever. We have the power and the freedom to shape where and how we'll live our lives out. I don't know the numbers on how many digital nomads are out there in the world, no one does, but I think the movement is big and getting bigger.

But with this freedom to choose where you live comes the responsibility to choose 'right'. It's the paradox of choice: that too many options can actually be a bad thing. Observing myself and other nomad friends and family and how we all decide where to go next, I've come to a few conclusions on the process...

Don’t Force It

I think the number one thing to remember is not to force the decision. You might be impatient, you might want to have it all planned out six months in advance. And you can do that. But you might miss out on some cool stuff if you make this decision from your head/logic/fear rather than waiting to see where your gut tells you to go. The reason a lot of nomads don't know where they're going until the last minute is truly upon them is that the answer, the feeling, often doesn't show up until you desperately need it. So just wait, don't underestimate the importance of going with the flow, the flow knows where you're going.

Keep Your Eyes Open to Places Presenting Themselves to You

When I'm (impatiently) waiting for the answer of where to go next to come to me, if I keep my eyes and ears open to places that keep coming up for me in conversation, that keep showing up in magazines, that come up in my news feed or in emails from friends or readers or brands, over time I can often piece all this together to show me the direction the universe is pointing me in. Or it could even be one mention of a place, but that mention gets me so excited I can't stop thinking about it. Be open to the signs that show up and follow them if they feel good to you.

Lead With The Attributes and Feelings You Want

Instead of making your decision by staring at a big list of possible places, make a list of all the attributes you want in a city and all the feelings you want to get there. For example, I'd say the next place I want to go, I want it to be warm, I want to meet lots of people, I don't need it to be super-crazy cheap as I've been saving at home, I want to use it as a base to visit other cool cities, I want it to be cosmopolitan, I don't need it to be super-chill either as I've been relaxing at home. Feelings-wise, I want to feel alive, curious, free, uncomfortable, scared, excited. So I suppose I'll send that stuff out to the universe then keep checking whether cities that come up match those things or not.

Choose Courage Over Comfort Often

There's the place that excites you but you don't know why. You don't know anybody there, you don't know the language, you just don't know what you'll find there. But something's pulling you there. Then there's the place that's a known quantity - you know some people, you've lived that daily life there, you know your favourite foods there,. I think as people who have to weather a lot of change, it's good for digital nomads to have some comfort and some ease at times. But I think you have to choose the 'courage-required' destination often too, or you'll never reap those rewards on the other side of your fear.

Try To Go 100% Solo Often

It can be fun to go live with your friends in foreign cities or travel somewhere with fellow nomads but make sure you mix in some healthy doses of 100% solo, 'what-am-I-doing-here' destinations too. It'll feel crap for a little while maybe but you'll get over it and you'll have grown and overcome a fear or limiting belief and been forced to make new friends so you'll come out a better person. That's the best feeling in the world for a nomad I think, personal growth, and it often comes from putting yourself in situations where you're completely alone.

Realise You Can't Get it Wrong

No matter where you go, you'll learn something and some good stuff will happen. I think I've made 'wrong' head-based decisions before around my next destination but I've still always managed to make it work in the end. And if it does feel really wrong and you can't see it getting better...remember you can leave whenever you want : ) you are free!

Some Practical Tools

  • Nomad List is an incredible website that rates destinations around the world according to their livability for digital nomads. It tells you things like average cost of living, safety, weather, friendliness.

  • Facebook groups for digital nomads are a big source of encouragement and knowledge for me. Chat to people who've done it all before and ask questions about certain destinations you're considering. Or just browse the feeds and pick up ideas! I follow Digital Nomads Around the World and Web Work Travel.

The Travelling Light ©2020
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